Ultra-high field parallel imaging of the superior parietal lobule during mental maze solving

Experimental Brain Research - 2008-06-01Jerde T, Lewis S, Goerke Ute, Gourtzelidis P, Tzagarakis C, Lynch J, Moeller S, Van de Moortele PF, Adriany G, Trangle J, Ugurbil K, Georgopoulos AP10.1007/s00221-008-1318-8
We used ultra-high field (7 T)
Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging

Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI)

A functional neuroimaging procedure using MRI technology that measures brain activity by detecting changes associated with blood flow. This technique relies on the fact that cerebral blood flow and neuronal activation are coupled. When an area of the brain is in use, blood flow to that region also increases.[citation needed] The primary form of fMRI uses the blood-oxygen-level dependent (BOLD) contrast, discovered by Seiji Ogawa. This is a type of specialized brain and body scan used to map neural activity in the brain or spinal cord of humans or other animals by imaging the change in blood flow (hemodynamic response) related to energy use by brain cells. Since the early 1990s, fMRI has come to dominate brain mapping research because it does not require people to undergo shots, surgery, or to ingest substances, or be exposed to ionising radiation, etc.
and parallel imaging to scan the superior parietal lobule (SPL) of human subjects as they mentally traversed a maze path in one of four directions (up, down, left, right). A counterbalanced design for maze presentation and a quasi-isotropic voxel (1.46 x 1.46 x 2 mm thick) collection were implemented. Fifty-one percent of single voxels in the SPL were tuned to the direction of the maze path. Tuned voxels were distributed throughout the SPL, bilaterally. A nearest neighbor analysis revealed a "honeycomb" arrangement such that voxels tuned to a particular direction tended to occur in clusters. Three-dimensional (3D) directional clusters were identified in SPL as oriented centroids traversing the cortical depth. There were 13 same-direction clusters per hemisphere containing 22 voxels per cluster, on the average; the mean nearest-neighbor, same-direction intercluster distance was 9.4 mm. These results provide a much finer detail of the directional tuning in SPL, as compared to those obtained previously at 4 T (Gourtzelidis et al. Exp Brain Res 165:273-282, 2005). The more accurate estimates of quantitative clustering parameters in 3D brain space in this study were made possible by the higher signal-to-noise and contrast-to-noise ratios afforded by the higher magnetic field of 7 T as well as the quasi-isotropic design of voxel data collection.